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Marine officer remembered

21 Sep 2004 | Lance Cpl. Miguel A. Carrasco Jr.

"For everything there is a season, and for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die," Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.

These were the opening words meant to soothe the heavy hearts of Marines, Sailors and civilians mourning the loss of Lt. Col. Kevin M. Shea during his memorial service held here Sept. 21.

Shea was the communications and information systems officer for Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.  The Seattle native was only a few months from returning home when he was killed during a rocket attack on Camp Fallujah Sept. 14, his 38th birthday. 

The memory of Shea, born in Washington D.C., made an undeniable impression on the Marines he worked with.

Shea was a mentor and a teacher who lived life to the fullest, said Gunnery Sgt. Robert H. Keyes, a radio chief with RCT-1.

Shea was posthumously promoted to lieutenant colonel, making him one of the highest-ranking officers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Although, Shea's life was cut short his list of accomplishments were long.
Shea enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1985.  While there, he lettered in varsity football and played as a defensive end in the 1987 Freedom Bowl.
Not stopping there, Shea was also apart of the 1989 Air Force Academy's rugby team, which won the collegiate national championship.

Upon graduating from the Air Force Academy, Shea received an inter-service transfer into the Marine Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1989.

After returning from Operation Desert Storm, Shea began his duty with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company in June 1991. During a three-year period he earned both jump master and combatant diver ratings.

In May 1999, Shea was promoted to the rank of major and earned a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. in September 2000.

As Shea continued to lead a successful career in the Marine Corps he managed to have a positive effect on those around him.

"Lt. Col. Shea was a role model Marine.  He was everything a Marine should be," said Lance Cpl. John H. Wells, 20, a native of Choctaw, Okla. and a radio operator with RCT-1.

Shea also served at the U.S. Naval Academy as an electrical engineering instructor and an assistant coach for the Navy rugby team. While at the Naval Academy, he earned the academic rank of Master Instructor and was named an honorary graduate by the class of 2003.

During all of these accomplishments, Shea found ways to shed light on those around him.

Shea always looked at things from a positive perspective no matter what the situation was, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Raymond M. Berger, a communications chief with RCT-1.

Looking out for the well being of his Marines, Shea always made sure they had everything they needed. However, there was one thing he put before the Marine Corps.

As much as Shea loved the Marine Corps, his family came first, said Berger, 43, a Sedro Woolley, Wash. native, referring to Shea's wife, Ami, and children, Brenna and Michael.

Shea was a leader who had a big heart, and cared for his family and the Marines around him, said Keyes, 33, a Victoria, Texas native.

His personality, charisma, accomplishments, and caring heart found a way into the hearts and minds of the Marines around Shea. He will not be forgotten.

"Lt. Col. Shea will be missed a lot. It is going to take another great person to fill his shoes," said Lance Cpl. Chance P. Solomon, 19, a native of Midwest City, Okla. and a radio operator with RCT-1. "He was a part of our family and he treated us like we were a part of his."